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Apartments on the Cambridge-Somerville Line. Photo by Jason Pramas. Copyright 2023 Jason Pramas.

After an arduous, multi-year process, Massachusetts voters made it clear when they approved the Fair Share Amendment in November 2022 that they wanted the state’s wealthiest residents to make greater contributions to the state’s budget. Communities spoke decisively on this issue during a time of unprecedented inequity.

But right now, rather than making the investments needed for our Commonwealth to be thriving for all, state leaders are considering giving away hundreds of millions of dollars each year in tax cuts for the ultra-rich and large corporations. 

It’s inconceivable that lawmakers would be working on a giveaway for the ultra-rich, while communities are in crisis from the unchecked rising costs of housing, utilities, food, and transportation against stagnating wages. 

There’s no dollar figure we can place on a child experiencing the trauma of being pulled out of school because their family is priced out and evicted from a neighborhood they’ve called home for generations. There’s no dollar figure we can place on the time, exhaustion, and lost income from riding a collapsing public transit system. There is a younger generation of voters coming of age who feel, and are, disenfranchised from our economy, seeing no future for themselves. And that’s a bad thing for all of us. 

Declining to collect tax revenue from the largest estates, short-term capital gains, and corporate investor returns is the same thing as giving this money away.

The proposed tax plan also raises serious questions about who our state government is working for. Working class people, renters, people of color, and immigrants are drastically underrepresented. To us, it shows a callous disregard for how our neighbors continue to struggle and suffer, especially in the wake of a global pandemic. 

If only our lawmakers put the same level of focus on the state’s most vulnerable residents and steadily shrinking middle class, as they are doing for the wealthiest 1%.

As an organizer at the Community Action Agency of Somerville, every week I witness how my low-income neighbors use their power to speak up and lead campaigns that fight for the most oppressed and marginalized in our city. This is what real courage in the face of crisis looks like. 

It’s time for our state lawmakers to live up to their oaths of office and do the same.

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